REVIEW: Huawei MatePad Pro
When it comes to growth and the speed of innovation, the tablet market in general is pretty slow and given how slow it is, for better or for worse, the majority of consumers out there end up with an iPad purely from brand recall and lack of exposure to other major tablet manufacturers. Huawei is one of those giants and they have been around a quite a while and so has their MatePad series but this is the first time in a long time that there’s a MatePad Pro and it takes a jab at the Pro tablet lineup Apple offers.
Design & Build Quality
Huawei kept the MatePad Pro design as simple as possible with no fancy finishes which we do see on their smartphones. The white finish on the rear of front bezels of the device is quite the eye catcher. The tablet has a thin profile overall and for the most part, we really like Huawei’s design decisions on this model.
The display is an LCD panel coming in at 10.8” and it looks pretty great. While it may not be an OLED or AMOLED display, if you do plan to use the display for just the usual such as for entertainment, a little bit of productivity and sketch while you are on the move – it serves fine. Not to forget, watching shows on the tablet with the super thin bezel is nice. There is a Selfie camera cut out on the corner of the display, which isn’t too much of a distraction – and good to have given how much we are video calling these days.
As good as all of the above sounds, the MatePad Pro is incomplete without the accessories and Huawei sent us the complete bundle to use with the tablet. It comes with two accessories: the Huawei M Pencil and Smart Magnetic Keyboard.
Smart Magnetic Keyboard
The keyboard snaps with the magnets around the device and the camera bump slots in a way that the sleeve sticks well to the back of the device. On the keyboard, you’ll notice it has two ridges where you can place the tablet in two angles and the moment you place it, the Bluetooth gets activated, the keyboard is paired and ready to go.
It is a chicklet style keyboard with a short key travel – and since it’s a keyboard sleeve, it pretty impressive given its thinness as the typing experience on the keyboard is nice and easy to get used to.
You can still perform shortcuts, similar to Windows but there’s no customizability in that department. I can use Alt+Tab to switch between applications and few other shortcuts within apps as well. Honestly, I didn’t expect the keyboard to be this good on the tablet – so much so to a point that I did use the tablet to take notes or type articles on Microsoft Office with no issues at all.
Sure, it doesn’t have backlit keys but the display brightness is more than enough to make you see the legend on the keyboard. Pair it with a mouse via Bluetooth and you get yourself a decked out portable yet quite the workhorse to get around.
Huawei M Pencil
As the name suggests, the M Pencil is a stylus for the MatePad Pro to get around the tablet and for those who want to take complete advantage of the display. It attaches magnetically on the top of the device to pair and charge which is pretty handy as you don’t have to worry about charging the pen with a separate cable.
The 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity are a welcome touch for those who want to take advantage of the device’s display to sketch or write anything. In my case, I did use the pen to sign and write on documents, jot down notes and draw some small sketches. You can even use the pen to wakeup the display and jot down without unlocking the device. Huawei also includes extra tip for the pen, so if the tip does wear off over time, you can replace it.
EMUI 10.1 offers quite the number of features to get around the tablet – MeeTime for video calls, AppGallery and, my personal favorite, a setting that switches the tablet from a typical android tablet to a Windows Like experience – EMUI Desktop.
Now, this is a feature that has existed in Huawei devices and it works when you connect a HDMI cable and the phone will enable the EMUI Desktop on the big screen. Huawei has incorporated the EMUI Desktop mode into the tablet itself and switching from the clunky UI to a much familiar layout helps a lot for the most part – such as opening and closing the tabs like a proper laptop would do, a settings center and command center that collectively shows the notification and quick settings and so on.
Not to forget, the speakers on this tablet are fantastic and perfect for boxset binges if the main TV in the house is being used by someone else.
The MatePad Pro isn’t perfect though – there are few fallbacks with the tablet. Some that could potentially be fixed via future updates whilst others might be a little harder to do so.
Sticking with the NM Card for storage, which is a proprietary storage created by Huawei, gives the user a tough time to upgrade their storage and even if they do, being able to use the NM Card on today’s device is a little hard because there isn’t a proper reader in the market and its hard to find one.
The Huawei AppGallery – while it may seem like they are doing the best they could to add as much apps as possible to satisfy users needs, still falls short in offering reliable apps. There is a work around where you can download third-party app launchers like APKMirror Installer or APKPure to get your day-to-day application working but it’s not the most streamlined of setups.
The MatePad Pro houses a huge battery that lets you charge with a Qi Wireless Charger and even enables you to Reverse Qi Charge a different device. As impressively large as it is, the 7000mAh battery inside the MatePad Pro falls short when it comes to standby time. But it’s quite alright because if it weren’t for the FastCharge Adapter, this tablet would have been a little too hard to charge quickly.
For the most part, the Huawei Matepad Pro is an impressive tablet. Shortcomings such as the AppGallery is something that I can look past as I am only using this tablet to do limited number of work but it still lacks a lot of productivity-centric tools in the AppGallery that can actually take complete advantage of the M Pencil – which I do hope to see a change in the near future. I must reiterate what I mentioned above though, if you do want the Pro experience, you must get the accessories to go along with the tablet.
The Huawei MatePad Pro is available for €599 at Harvey Norman and you can pick up the MatePad Pro, the M Pencil, the C-Marx MatePad Pro Smart Keyboard and a 12 month subscription to Microsoft 365 Personal as part of a special bundle for just €648 at Harvey Norman as well, which is a saving of €248.
Thanks to Huawei Ireland for sending us the device to review.